Sep 27, 2019

Athletes have bad teeth

Why do top athletes have such poor dental health?

Performance athletes look after their bodies – their teeth included. In a study of 352 male and female athletes from 11 sports, including cycling, swimming, rugby, football and athletics, it was found that 94% of them brushed their teeth twice a day (compared with 75% of the general population), and 44% floss regularly (compared with 21% of the population). However, in spite of all this attentiveness, researchers at UCL discovered that these athletes still had pretty bad teeth. 49% of them had untreated tooth decay and 32% said that tooth pain negatively affected their training and performance.
Athlete Swimming
The conclusion drawn by the paper, published in the British Dental Journal, was that these athletes consume so much high-sugar energy foods and drinks: 87% regularly drank sports drinks, while 59% ate energy bars and 70% used energy gels. However, other studies have suggested a different reason for poor dental health in sportspeople. The harder the training regime, the less saliva you produce – and saliva has an important role in degrading bacteria, strengthening enamel, diluting sugars and neutralising acid production.

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